The Reason Geddy Lee Banned Eddie Van Halen From Rush Shows

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In the heyday of rock ‘n’ roll, Leicester, England became the backdrop for an unforgettable encounter between two of rock’s behemoths: Rush and Van Halen. It was the early 80s, and fate had booked the two bands into the same hotel. The occasion was made even more special as it was Michael Anthony, Van Halen’s bassist’s birthday.

Picture this: after a high-octane performance, Van Halen, with adrenaline still pumping through their veins, decided to hit the bar. To their surprise, the bar had been reserved by Rush. This anecdote was later humorously detailed by David Lee Roth in a 1981 interview with Creem magazine.

Roth painted a vivid picture, saying, “Imagine us, a year ago, in this quaint English city – Leicester. It has an odd spelling, but that’s the charm of it. Our show had been exhilarating, and the energy was palpable because it was Michael’s special day.”

But as Van Halen ventured to the bar, they discovered that Rush had essentially laid claim to all the drinks there. In Roth’s words: “Our crew walks in, sees this apparent haven of free booze, and thought, ‘Why not?’. Their spree ruffled some feathers, especially among the Rush team.”

Further adding to the tale, Roth delved into a more intimate moment between Eddie Van Halen and Geddy Lee. Both sat together, probably discussing music and life, when Geddy started playing some of Rush’s recordings. But the camaraderie took a twist when, possibly due to some comment or gesture, Eddie’s beer toppled into the tape recorder Geddy was using. An unintentional mishap that, according to Roth, became a point of contention.

Fast forward a year to 1981, in the vibrant city of Las Vegas. This time, Van Halen was on the audience’s side, and Rush was on stage. But a message was relayed: not a single member of Van Halen, including their crew, was permitted at the Rush concert. Roth stated, “Absolutely no entry for anyone affiliated with Van Halen.”

Yet, rock legends are known for their big personalities and bigger hearts. Years after the infamous “tape recorder” episode, the grapevine was abuzz with news. Whispers suggested Geddy Lee was considering collaborating with Alex Lifeson and Alex Van Halen to create a new rock ensemble. While no official word confirmed these speculations, the silence from the artists was telling.

The world of rock is full of larger-than-life tales, of camaraderie and conflict. But it’s these stories, like the one in Leicester, that keep the spirit of rock alive, reminding us of its unpredictable, raw, and passionate nature.

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